In the realm of headphones the quip, “It’s better to look good than to feel good” might well be rendered as “It’s better to look good than to sound good.”. In both cases, the statement is obviously nonsense. Just ask anyone with chronic inflammatory arthritis… it doesn’t matter a bit what you look like if you feel awful. Similarly if headphones looks great but don’t sound good, then they really aren’t worth a thing. That was, honestly, my concern when we were asked to review and then give away a pair of the White Tuxedo Monster DNA headphones that were officially introduced last Sunday at the MTV Movie Awards. Both in shape and color, the White Tuxedo Monster DNA Headphones are designed to draw attention, and there is no doubt the headphones are designed to make a fashion statement. I was concerned that the sound coming from the White Tuxedo Monster DNA Headphones would not live up to the good looks, but I’m happy to report that was not the case; these headphones look good and sound quite good as well. Let’s take a look.
I didn’t expect to be overly impressed with the sound these headphones pump out. I’m glad I gave them a fair shot, because they actually sound quite good. The company advertises them as having “Pure Monster Sound”; as they explain, this means the headphones are tuned in a manner that you won’t have to “choose between deep bass or crystal details”. The headphones are supposedly tuned so they sound like you are attending a live performance; I don’t know about that but I do know that they sound good!
In the Box:
Inside the box you will find the headphones, a ControlTalk cable for use with Apple devices, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable without controls, a carrying “pouch” and a cleaning cloth. I do wish that Monster had seen fit to include a hard protective case for the headphones, since these are the type of item you will want to keep with you all the time. But, alas, like so many other companies, they did not. It is also striking that headphones like Monster’s Diamond Tears (review coming shortly) include ControlTalk cables for both iOS and Android devices, while the Monster DNA shun the Android-specific cable.
Monster makes note of the fact that they chose to use lightweight but durable materials in the construction of the headphones. I have not used them long enough to pass judgement, but they do SEEM to be fairly well-made. In and of itself that is striking, since the headphones don’t give the appearance of being tough. They are light and look delicate, but they also feel solid enough to live up to Monster’s claims. This does, however, sit in stark contrast to the Jabra Revo Headphones we reviewed, which not only claim to be tough but also have video documentation of the headphones being put through rather harsh testing. The White Tuxedo Monster DNA headphones have a more refined look than the Jabra Revos, yet neither headphones gives off the appearance of being particularly “rugged”.<
The White Tuxedo Monster DNA headphones certainly make a statement. The DNA line has a shape that is described as being neither round nor oval. They are, in fact, triangular. It is a striking design that looks quite good. Were the headphones any larger, I think the triangular shape would have fallen flat. But at this size it really does work. The white and black color of the White Tuxedo line is bold without being obnoxious, and I like the way they look. My wife Elana, on the other hand, wasn’t as impressed. And if White Tuxedo isn’t your thing, then you can order the Monster DNA headphones in a wide range of different designs from all black to leopard to camouflage. (Some designs are a bit more expensive.) Take a look…
Comfort and Noise Isolation:
The White Tuxedo Monster DNA headphones are on-ear headphones. Those who don’t like this style or who find on-ear headphones to be uncomfortable are not going to be happy. Those of us who actually enjoy wearing on-ear headphones will be quite pleased. The headphone cushions are pillow-soft and, as a result, are quite comfortable. Because they do conform so nicely to the wearer’s ears, they also provide a surprisingly good amount of isolation from surrounding noise. This is not by accident, since Monster describes them as offering pillow-soft Advanced Noise Isolating cushions that will be comfortable for hours on end, block out noise AND keep your music from disturbing others. I find all of this to be true with one exception — after wearing the headphones for any significant period of time, I did find myself needing to shift their position just a bit to give my ears a break. Yes, like most on-ear headphones, there is a degree of ear-fatigue after a time. That is, however, something I tend to experience with almost all on-ear headphones.
One of the cool features of the Monster DNA line of headphones is the MusicShare dual audio input jacks. Simply put, this means there is a 3.5mm connector on both the left and the right earcup. Why would you want this?
• It means that you can plug your cable into either the left or the right earcup depending on which is more comfortable and convenient. I love this feature and appreciate having the flexibility when using wired headphones! (If you REALLY want to cut the cord check out one of the many pair of Bluetooth headphones we have reviewed!)
• Having the dual inputs means you can plug your headphones into a music source on one earcup, and a friend can plug THEIR headphones into the 3.5mm port on the other earcup. That means you can both listen to the same audio whether it is music, a movie or a podcast. I don’t expect I’ll be using this feature all that much, but I really like the idea and appreciate having the flexibility.
It is striking to me that Monster doesn’t list the audio specifics of the White Tuxedo Monster DNA headphones on their website or in the promotional material they sent to us. Instead they focus on style and a few unique features. That was the reason I was concerned these headphones would be form over substance; thankfully they are actually a good example of form AND substance. The Monster White Tuxedo DNA headphones look good, sound good and are comfortable to wear. And since the DNA line comes in a wide range of colors and designs, you can get the pair that best fits your style. I like these headphones… a lot. And I find myself torn between these and the Jabra Revo wired headphones I recently reviewed. Both offer on-ear designs and good sound, both are comfortable to wear, and both do a good job of blocking out ambient. Both are also available in the $200 range. So which to get? It honestly comes largely down to the aesthetics. Which look better to you? Which strikes your fancy? So while I started this review noting that the form really should come second to function and sound, at the end of the day the decision actually does come down to form … and that’s not a bad position to be in.
MSRP: $229.95 (Get them right now for $199.95)
What I Like: Look good; Sound good; Comfortable; Include ControlTalk audio-control and mic-enabled cable; MusicShare lets you share your music
What Needs Improvement: Included bag is fine, but a hard case would have been better.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample